Friends of Sinners resident paints murals at Puzzle Pieces as a part of recovery program
Steve Lane has a storied past, one that involves raising three children as a single father in government housing on Owensboro’s west side and an alcohol addiction that controlled a lot of his life. A recent relapse left Lane, 62, at a crossroads -- return to a life of addiction or fight for his sobriety. He chose to fight.
Lane connected with Joe Welsh, executive director of Friends of Sinners, and drove across the state to check himself into the Owensboro treatment facility.
“I couldn’t find happiness,” Lane said. “After I broke my promises to God and stopped abiding in him like I should, I wasn’t happy anymore. I’m at Friends of Sinners right now to try to get my happiness back. I don’t want to live like that anymore and I see that coming if I don’t do something.”
Part of that happiness for Lane is art. He taught himself how to paint, but only on small canvases or scraps paper. He connected with a muralist through a community outreach program and excelled, assisting and eventually leading in mural projects across the state. Eventually, Lane launched his own commercial art business, Go Big Time Art, specializing in murals.
He has since painted murals for libraries, municipalities, restaurants and businesses. Locals would recognize his work at the Holiday Drive In at Reo, Ind., and at Carmen’s Permanent Makeup Center behind Wesleyan Park Plaza. But a few sips of alcohol last year threatened what Lane calls his God-given talent.
Lane is currently three weeks into the 18-month recovery program at Friends of Sinners. Welsh said that after meeting Lane and discovering his talent, he knew he wanted to plug him into the Owensboro community.
“I don’t want him to go out and get a 9 to 5 job,” Welsh said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but I just think God has bigger plans for him.”
Welsh contacted Puzzle Pieces Executive Director Amanda Owen who just relocated her facility for individuals with disabilities to a new campus on New Hartford Road in late 2019. With a 27,000-foot building to renovate, Owen was on board with adding Lane’s murals to the walls.
“We love that our clients will be able to enjoy such beautiful murals in our building,” Owen said. “But we also love that we get to partner with another great Owensboro nonprofit who is doing their part to better our community. This is a win-win for everyone. How could we not be a part of that?”
Lane just finished up painting a mural in the theatre room, where clients socialize and gather to watch movies. The rear wall of the room resembles seats in a theatre with a three-dimensional effect. He will move on to Puzzle Pieces’ new day care facility, which will launch in Spring 2020.
“I wanted to do something to let Owensboro know he’s here and available and where he could use his gift to paint as many walls and buildings in Owensboro as possible,” Welsh said. “We have one of the best muralists in the state, maybe the best in the state, right here in Owensboro.”
Welsh said that a major part of a client’s recovery is finding their purpose in life. Friends of Sinners will help 150 individuals each year and while the nonprofit facilities classes andBible studies, focusing on finding purpose after the recovery program is just as important, Welsh said.
“These guys come in here broken, with nothing, no clothes, not a dollar to their name, but they have really amazing skills and talents,” Welsh said.
Lane said his lifetime’s work has been about making landmarks, something he says not a lot of people can do. Taking an idea and transferring that to a large-scale canvas like the side of a building or an entire wall is something Lane takes pride in. He hopes to paint more around Owensboro and connect with other local artists.
“I plan on painting,” Lane said of his future after Friends of Sinners. “Wherever it takes me, I don’t know.”